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  • Author: Hesham Sallam
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran's recent detention of 15 British sailors and marines, captured in the contested waters of the Shatt al-Arab near the Iranian coast, has exacerbated tensions between the United States and Iran. The incident also underscored the opacity of the Iranian political system; it is unclear on whose directive the Iranian navy acted. With U.S.–Iranian relations already strained due to the Islamic Republic's activities in Iraq and its nuclear ambitions, understanding the Islamic Republic's power structure and decision-making processes has become increasingly important. To answer the question "Who rules Ahmadinejad's Iran?" USIP's Iran Policy Forum convened an off-the-record discussion with leading specialists on Iranian politics. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the main points made during the discussion and does not represent the views of USIP, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Western policy toward Iran relies heavily on economic pressure, and Iran's political trajectory is shaped in large part by its economic prospects and constraints. A toughened regime of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran and uncertainties about the viability of its petroleum sector—compounded by deep structural distortions caused by a history of economic mismanagement—raise real questions about the state of the Iranian economy. The Iran Policy Forum at the United States Institute of Peace convened a meeting to discuss the status of Iran's economy and energy sector; the effect of Iran's uncertain political climate and concerns over its nuclear program on the economy; and actions the government should take to avoid future economic troubles. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the fifth in a series of USIPeace Briefings on Syria published by the Institute's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Written by Mona Yacoubian, director of the Institute's Syria Working Group and special adviser to the Muslim World Initiative, it is based on discussions at a recent seminar held at the Institute. The views expressed do not reflect those of USIP, which does not take policy positions
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The much-discussed and often delayed Iraqi hydrocarbon law, approved by the Iraqi cabinet in February, is a bellwether for the future of the Iraqi state. Successful passage and implementation of the law would reflect a strong spirit of compromise and help to calm violence. If, on the other hand, the proposed law fails to pass, it will have negative repercussions for Iraq's social, economic and political stability.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The international response to the Hamas takeover of Gaza has largely focused on building support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, including announcements by the United States and the EU that the 15-month aid embargo was ending, with assistance to be channeled through the "emergency" government led by Salam Fayyad. But the Hamas takeover has also led to a variety of calls for greater international intervention in Gaza, well beyond the work of the UN and other aid agencies, the Egyptian mediation team, and the European Union monitoring force at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Linda Bishai, Sara Dye
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) Task Force on Public Health and Conflict held its third symposium, "Iraq: Rebuilding a Nation's Health." The Task Force is committed to raising the profile of conflict analysis and resolution in the field of public health education.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past four years, suicide bombings have become a choice weapon of the insurgency in Iraq. Today, terrorists and insurgents perpetrate suicide attacks regularly, taking a profound physical and psychological toll on the local population and the multinational forces serving in the country. Curbing the incidence of these attacks depends in part on understanding the motivations that trigger them. In his latest book on this challenging topic, Mohammed Hafez offers trenchant insights into the deadly phenomenon of suicide bombing, shedding much needed light on the strategy and ideology behind what often appears to be an inexplicable act of terror.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United States faces a set of unparalleled challenges in the Middle East at a moment when its capacity to respond is circumscribed and the regional and global situations are deteriorating. It is far more likely that things will get worse before they get better, though there are ways of trying to improve the odds.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's elections, scheduled to take place by July 2009, are a major milestone of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Domestic and international institutions are already planning for the elections, although many legal and logistical issues must be resolved before they take place. The U.S. Institute of Peace convened a meeting of the Sudan Peace Forum on July 13, 2007 to discuss the major tasks remaining in the organization of elections. The following USIPeace Briefing summarizes the status of electoral preparations and identifies critical conditions to ensure their timely organization.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East
  • Author: Neil Kritz
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. and Iraqi politicians and analysts consistently agree on one central point concerning Iraq: serious political reconciliation amongst Iraqi groups is needed to reduce the violence and create a viable government. Centrifugal forces fueled by armed conflict, competition for power and resources, and the intervention of foreign powers and neighbors has stalemated the political process in Baghdad for months.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East